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Bishop John Timon
An excerpt from Against the Grain, pp. 43-55
by Timothy Bohen

Reprinted with permission.

Not only were the Irish being provoked by the nativists and mocked in local newspapers, but they were also exploited by the Protestant elite in Buffalo who owned the factories, controlled the capital, and made the laws.  The Irish immigrants were paid meager wages, worked long hours, and most lived in deplorable conditions compared to their fellow Buffalonians.  Adding to their troubles, these poor immigrants were more vulnerable to diseases like cholera because of poor sanitation, and they lacked adequate services to address these calamities.  At this time they were also shut out of the political process in Buffalo, so they were without legislative protection. 

Quite simply the Irish in Buffalo needed a savior, and they found one in a fifty-one-year-old priest and fellow Irish American, John Timon.

On April 23, 1847, the Vatican created the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in order to minister to the growing number of its members in Western New York.  Later that year, on October 17th, Bishop John Timon, Vincentian missionary priest, and son of Irish immigrants from Cavan County in Northern Ireland, was jubilantly welcomed as the first Bishop of Buffalo by 12,000 of the faithful in a pouring rainstorm.   A fine carriage was waiting to pick him up, but Bishop Timon—setting a tone of solidarity with his poor flock—decided to walk with his carpetbag and umbrella in hand. 

At the time, the center of the Buffalo Roman Catholic Church, and the presumed home for the new bishop, was the stately St. Louis Church on Main Street, a French and German parish.  However, Bishop Timon, born of humble beginnings, had a strong affinity for the struggling Irish, and desired to live with those who were most in need. 

On November 23, 1847, only four weeks after arriving in Buffalo, he packed up his few belongings at St. Louis Church and set up residence several blocks away in a rented apartment across from St. Patrick’s Church on Ellicott Street and Batavia Street (now Broadway Street), to more closely look after his Irish flock.  While St. Patrick’s was north of the First Ward by several blocks, it was the closest church and considered the Ward’s home parish.  At this time there were roughly 6,300 Irish people living in Buffalo and many of them lived close to St. Patrick’s Church.   There were, however, only 300 registered families in St. Patrick’s Parish when Bishop Timon arrived, so clearly thousands of the Irish were not being ministered to.

The first Bishop of Buffalo didn’t waste time and confirmed a staggering 4,167 people in Buffalo in his first year—proof that Buffalo was mission territory.  When Timon wasn’t performing his ecclesiastical duties, he was putting plans together to create an institutional church that would help lift its downtrodden members out of poverty.

Before Timon arrived, there was already a divide between the German, French, and Irish Catholics in Buffalo, and his initial actions involving a property dispute at St. Louis Church further exacerbated these tensions. The lay leadership of St. Louis Church argued that the trustees owned St. Louis Church, not the new Bishop of Buffalo. However, this view contrasted with Timon’s understanding of the property deed and more broadly his vision for the church in Buffalo: a highly centralized and institutional Church.

The Bishop threatened the trustees of St. Louis with excommunication and eliminated all services at the church for several months. This not only irked the German and French Catholics, but it also fed the growing anti-Catholicism of the Protestant establishment in Buffalo who now feared an erosion of separation of church and state with Timon’s arrival.  But the feisty Timon did not back down and it wouldn’t be the last time that he would be obstinate when dealing with the Buffalo establishment.  

Catholic immigrants were desperate for spiritual and material resources and Bishop Timon worked tirelessly toward meeting their needs. These needs ranged from services for orphans and the aged to hospitals, schools and even basic food supplies.  In the 1850s most of the city poorhouses were filled with Irish men, women, and children and many city-run institutions were overtly biased against Catholics.   One such problem existed at the Buffalo Orphan Asylum, which was hostile to Catholic spiritual needs even though many of the residents were Catholic.  After Bishop Timon unsuccessfully fought some of these policies at established Protestant institutions, he decided he had to create his own institutions to guarantee that Catholics would be taken care of physically and spiritually. 

Timon knew that the problems were too numerous for him to fix by himself, so in 1848, he invited the Sisters of Charity to come to Buffalo to run an orphan asylum as well as establish a new hospital at Pearl and Virginia Streets.  On June 3, 1848, six Sisters of Charity arrived in Buffalo from their convent house in Baltimore and immediately went to work.
Interestingly, although the Protestant establishment of Buffalo had discussed establishing a hospital, it was the Sisters of Charity, in 1848, who opened the first hospital in the Queen City. This 100-bed institution was open to all Buffalo residents regardless of religious denomination.  Within one year, the hospital treated over 1,500 patients and half of these were charity cases. Many First Ward residents were also taken care of by Sisters of Charity at the only hospital in Buffalo at that time.

The following year, in 1849, the sisters opened St. Vincent’s Orphanage, located at Ellicott Street and Broadway adjoining St. Patrick’s Church. Timon’s timing in creating both institutions was opportune because in the summer of 1849 a terrible cholera epidemic swept through the poorest areas of Buffalo, especially the First Ward, and there were 2,535 reported cases of this deadly disease.  Almost ninety percent of the 877 who died from this cholera epidemic in Buffalo were foreign-born laborers, mostly Irish. 

This devastating disease, caused from bacteria found in untreated water, resulted in severe diarrhea, and many patients would die a painful death from dehydration.  Fortunately, the Sisters of Charity assisted in saving many lives and even the Buffalo Medical Journal commended the Sisters of Charity for achieving a much lower mortality rate among cholera victims than the established city institution.  

The need for the orphan asylum grew quickly because cholera epidemics struck Buffalo again in 1851, 1852, and 1854.  These epidemics continued to disproportionately impact the immigrant communities, especially the Irish along the waterfront.  Since there was no treatment for it, and since sometimes both parents ingested the contaminated water, children could be left parentless.  Dire economic circumstances and an early death of a mother or father also caused an abundance of orphans.  In 1857, the need for the orphanage was strong as evidenced by an editorial in the Catholic Sentinel urging an expansion of the facility because “the almost unprecedented severity of the times has thrown upon our hands a large number of destitute children whom widowed mothers are no longer able to provide with common necessities of life who must perish if we do not come to their relief.”  Due to dire poverty, young Irish women who weren’t in stable families were often exploited, so the sisters also took care of wayward and homeless young women. 

In addition to providing shelter, the sisters also educated them to become self-supporting and provided them with technical skills such as dressmaking and cooking.   The sisters were very successful in keeping many women from falling into prostitution or other denigrating activities.

Anti-Catholic bias in the school system was another issue on Timon’s agenda.  The first bishop of Buffalo knew the ultimate way to improve the conditions of the Irish was education, but Timon didn’t want his flock losing their Catholic faith in the public schools.  The Buffalo city schools were typical of their day in that, “they read the King James Version of the Bible, sang Protestant hymns, and read nativistic textbooks.”  The Bishop vociferously condemned the fact that Catholics paid high taxes so that the public schools could secretly proselytize Catholics, purchase anti-Catholic books for their libraries and hire only non-Catholics as teachers.  So Timon once again took matters into his own hands and recruited a vibrant community of sisters from Ireland and set them up in the heart of the Ward.

The Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic community of nuns founded in Ireland, is dedicated to educating children and serving the needs of the poor.  By 1843, the group sent its first group of sisters from Ireland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to administer to the needs of the Irish immigrants.  As their community grew, they established foundations all over the Northeast.  It was from their foundation in Providence, Rhode Island that Bishop Timon requested a few sisters for a convent in Rochester, New York, which was then part of the Buffalo diocese. 

At this time, Timon already had a small school in the First Ward, which was staffed by the Sisters of St. Bridget or “Brigidine Sisters” who taught First Ward kids at St. Bridget’s Parish from 1854 to 1858.  However, this community lacked enough sisters to sustain their mission so they disbanded in 1858.  Perhaps Timon had foreseen the Brigidine Sisters impending disbandment and this prompted him to actively recruit the Sisters of Mercy to come to Buffalo.  Regardless, his timing was perfect for as the Sisters of St. Bridget folded, the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Buffalo.

On a cold February day in 1858, three sisters and a postulant arrived in Buffalo from Rochester: Mother Mary Teresa Austin Carroll, Sister Mary Raymond O’Reilly, Sister Mary Regis Madden and Mary Ann McGarr, a postulant.  The enthusiastic sisters had a rather unwelcoming arrival to the Ward because their dwelling on Fulton Street—which was previously ravaged by a fire—was completely lacking in staples like beds, bedding, and other essential supplies.  Bishop Timon assisted them in gathering the necessary supplies and even borrowed a candle from a neighbor to illuminate their dwelling.   In a history of the Mercy Sisters the author claims that Bishop Timon watched over the Mercy Sisters in the Ward “like a vigilant father.” 
The Irish residents of the Ward, who were familiar with the “walking sisters” from the old country, were thankful for their arrival.  No one then knew how much of an impact the sisters would have in the Ward over the next hundred years.

The day after their arrival the Bishop gave them money to set up a soup and bread kitchen for the poor in the Ward as well as to establish a pharmacy.   All of these services were needed because the immigrants in the Ward were disproportionately affected by the Panic of 1857—a financial crisis involving the banks and railroads—which led to mass layoffs in Northern urban areas.  A notice in a local newspaper in 1858, during the height of the financial crisis, announced that “the Sisters of Mercy on Fulton Street have begun distributing soup and bread daily to poor persons.  The thinly clad and famishing poor have not far to go for nourishing food.”  In these days, the sisters went two by two with brown baskets that contained food and medicine to the homes of the sick and poor in the Ward.  They were also forced to beg for resources to assist the poor.

Aside from their charity mission, the sisters also managed in their first year to establish St. Joseph’s Academy with 30 pupils and Our Lady of Mercy School, a parochial school with 200 pupils, both run by Sister Mary Regis Madden.  Their original school at St. Bridget’s parish was in a horse barn while they waited for a more permanent building to be constructed.  The community of sisters grew in numbers and just five years after their arrival, on July 19, 1863, Bishop Timon laid the cornerstone for a convent for the Sisters of Mercy in the Ward adjacent to St. Bridget’s parish.  By 1871, the sisters opened a new school, which was bursting with over twelve hundred students.  Timon had a vision of how to elevate the Irish out of their current conditions through education, but it was the Sisters of Mercy who did the work.

St. Patrick’s, St. Joseph’s, and St. Bridget’s

While schools, orphanages and hospitals were important in addressing the material needs of the poor immigrants, it was the churches that provided for their spiritual needs.  Churches also provided a social and communal bond for these displaced immigrants.  For the Irish Catholics that lived in Buffalo in the late 1830s and early 40s, participation in church rituals and sacraments was limited. 

Prior to 1837, the only Catholic Church for the Irish or any other Catholic from the First Ward was St. Louis Church on Main Street, several miles from the Ward.  The Irish didn’t feel welcome at this church because of the French and German influence, and the distance was considerable from their homes near the waterfront, so many chose not to attend church services.  Others rented a building near Niagara Street—closer to where the English-speaking Catholics lived—and periodically Father Charles Smith, a traveling priest from Schenectady, New York, roughly 275 miles from Buffalo, performed Catholic Mass there.  Fr. Smith had to administer to the needs of other Catholics throughout Western New York so he only presided over mass once a month at this church in Buffalo. 

At the urging of Father Smith and New York City Bishop John Hughes, a few laymen investigated building their own church in 1839.  Bank credit to build a new church was difficult to obtain and the terms of the deed to purchase the land were onerous; the terms stated that the church needed to be erected in four years and the entire loan had to paid off in ten years.  Of the original eight signers of the deed, four backed out and those remaining were Patrick Milton, Maurice Vaughn, Patrick Cannon and Patrick Connolly.      

St. Patrick’s was the appropriate name given to this new church—located at the corner of Ellicott and Broadway Streets, just north of the First Ward boundaries—that catered to the growing Irish immigrant community near the waterfront.  Most of the labor to build the church came from the parishioners themselves because resources were too scarce to hire professional builders.  The roof was put on before the winter of 1840, and after two years of construction, this simple brick structure was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 1841; however, it did not open until May of that year.  After Father Smith was transferred to Brooklyn, Father William Whelan was named the pastor of this new church.  Not much is known about the early years of the parish except for the fact that Father Whelan was known for his preaching on temperance and encouraged hundreds of parishioners to take the pledge against alcohol.  At the time many parishioners were involved with building the new rail lines for the Boston & Buffalo Railroad, and they were paid in money and whisky: 50 cents a day and three to five cups of whiskey; the new pastor knew that this arrangement only encouraged alcoholism.  Father Whelan also started a school in the basement of the church to teach the children and he hired Mr. McNicoll, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Garrigan to teach the children secular and religious subjects. 

The church became the hub of spiritual activities for the Irish who lived in the area of the “Flats” as well as those along the waterfront. The sacramental needs of the Irish parishioners at St. Patrick’s were neglected for so many years that at a retreat Bishop Timon preached on December 19, 1847 at St. Patrick’s he confirmed 234 parishioners.  The congregants had so little in the form of religious instruction that the Bishop had to explain the ceremonies of Holy Week to both the congregants and the priests. 

Bishop Timon also established the first Buffalo seminary across the street from St. Patrick’s which initially had two or three seminarians enrolled who were taught by three professors: the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, the pastor of St. Louis Church, and the bishop himself. 

The most famous parishioner of this church is Father Nelson Baker, the candidate for sainthood, who was baptized there on November 29, 1851.  The influence of the parish began to wane when Timon moved his residence in 1852 to Franklin and Erie Streets, and then in 1853 and 1855, he directed that two new parishes be created to minister to the Irish immigrants.  St. Patrick’s closed in 1855 and was turned over to the Sisters of Charity who converted it into an orphanage.  Timon had other plans for a new place of worship for the Irish in the Ward—as well as Catholics in the downtown district—one that they would be proud of.

Bishop Timon had numerous conflicts with the Protestant establishment who tried to thwart his initiatives at every turn, but in 1851 he had a significant surprise for them. Two years earlier, the tireless first bishop of Buffalo had traveled to Europe to meet with the pope and during his journey he toured the great cathedrals of Europe.  Timon was confident that Buffalo was going to be a great city and great cities need impressive cathedrals.  Throughout the late 1840s until the early 1850s, he also traveled extensively through North America, Mexico, and Europe secretly raising funds for a new cathedral. The Pope gave him $2,000 to start his efforts and he then met “with the Kings of Bavaria and Naples, Prince Metternich, Austrian archdukes and Italian princesses, French nobles and English peers” to secure more funds.   Timon even convinced the King of Bavaria to donate some award winning stained glass windows for this endeavor.

The Irish bishop of Buffalo originally planned to put the Catholic cathedral on Washington Street where St. Michael’s Church is currently located, but an opportunity arose to be in the heart of downtown Buffalo and the bishop changed his mind.  The Catholic diocese was able to purchase the beautiful Webster Garden Estate, located in Buffalo’s “loveliest district with a beautiful park and rolling terraces stretching down to the shores of Lake Erie.”  Apparently, once the Protestants discovered the plans for the site, they quickly tried to repurchase the land from him, but it was too late.  

Bishop Timon chose the Irish-American architect Patrick Keeley from New York City to design his monumental project.  Keeley designed a Gothic church similar to the prominent ones in Europe with dimensions that were 200 feet long, 100 feet wide and 75 feet high.
The cornerstone of St. Joseph's Cathedral was laid on February 6, 1851, and Irish laborers from the West Side of Buffalo and the Ward did most of the work during the four years of construction.  Many of the laborers were so poor that they could not contribute anything monetarily, so they provided their labor.  After grueling hours at their day job, the laborers would come after work to haul stones or provide the masonry work for the project.  Obtaining finances for the cathedral was difficult, so Timon continually begged parishioners, foreign dignitaries, and his fellow priests for assistance. 

Finally, on July 1, 1855, St. Joseph’s Cathedral was dedicated in front of an overflowing crowd of 3,000—including many prominent ecclesiastical figures from around the United States—who came to witness the magnificent cathedral. The cost of the project was $150,000 and Bishop Timon had it paid off by1863.

There are some interesting stories regarding the cathedral and the First Ward.  While the cathedral was being built in 1853, there was a punishing storm that hit the houses along the waterfront.  As a result, numerous families were left homeless, so Bishop Timon instructed them to set up tents in the half-completed cathedral grounds where they could gain some protection from the elements. 

Another interesting fact involved Father Nelson Baker, who was stationed for a time at St. Joseph’s Cathedral as Vicar General for the diocese. Fr. Baker would row a boat from the banks near the cathedral over to a rustic Catholic chapel at the “Beach” called Our Lady of Mercy; at the chapel he would administer the sacraments to the poor Irish and Portuguese (the Beachers) and teach them their prayers and elementary Christian doctrine. 

While some First Warders journeyed to the majestic St. Joseph’s Cathedral for mass, for many it still didn’t feel like their native church.  Even though almost all of the pastors and priests for decades were Irish—Frs. Peter Bede, Francis O’Farrell, William Gleason, John McEvoy, Edward Kelly, James Quigley, James A. Lanigan, John Biden, Thomas Walsh, Henry Mooney, John J. Sheehy and Edward Britt—and the lay trustees and organizations were almost all staffed by Irish natives, the residents in the Ward needed their own church. 

Timon had created a branch of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on Fulton Street in 1850, which was run by lay members and was supervised by Fr. Martin Corbett.  This organization administered relief to the impoverished Irish in that neighborhood, and lay members taught Sunday catechism classes for First Ward children in a rented room in a frame house on Fulton Street.  As the First Ward continued to expand, Bishop Timon decided to create a parish, which would be the first one located inside the Ward boundaries. 

The Rev. Charles D. McMullen was named the first pastor of St. Bridget’s Church, and he quickly began work on the construction of a 100 by 40-foot small frame church on Fulton Street at Louisiana Street in 1853; the first baptism was recorded on February 13, 1853.  Unfortunately, the $3,000 church, which was built primarily by the immigrants themselves, was not constructed up to city codes and was condemned as unsafe. 

In 1858, the Bishop chose the experienced church-builder Fr. Martin O’Connor to replace Fr. McMullen.  The new brick church, designed in the Romanesque style, filled the corner of Louisiana and Fulton Streets.  In June 1859, Bishop Timon laid the cornerstone for the new church, which was designed to be larger and more imposing than the first one. 
Unfortunately, on October 18, 1859, hurricane winds destroyed the newly built roof and walls and the frustrated workers and parishioners had to begin again.  The dedication of the new church, which cost $16,000 to construct, finally occurred in December 1860 and it was well worth the wait.   There was one other minor structural setback, which occurred during Christmas midnight mass in 1866 when the floor in the church collapsed with a packed congregation on it; fortunately there were no reported injuries.

There aren’t many written details about Father O’Connor, the pastor of St. Bridget’s Parish from its inception until 1870, except that he was described as having an ‘energetic, nervous temperament.’  In contrast, his successor, Fr. William Gleason, was described as ‘genial and gentle’ as well as ‘cheery [and] faithful.’  Despite their different dispositions, both of these men helped guide and develop the growing parish and each left a mark on hundreds of Irish First Ward families.  In fact, it is claimed that Fr. William Gleason baptized, confirmed, married and buried thousands of First Ward residents during his twenty-four-year tenure from 1871 to 1895.  Fr. Gleason was also remembered for his sound judgment, which led Bishop Stephen Ryan, the second bishop of Buffalo, to chose him to be his “right hand” man.  In addition to the spiritual and sacramental assistance, these priests also provided for the material well being of their flock. 

There is an interesting debate regarding the spelling of the name of this important church. For most of the 19th century, the church and school were spelled St. Bridget’s, in honor of the famous female Irish saint.  At the dawn of the 20th century, the names (St. Bridget’s and St. Brigid’s) were used interchangeably in print.  For instance, in the March 4, 1909 issue of the Catholic Union and Times, there was a reference to both spellings in the same edition of the newspaper.  An issue of the 1909 Buffalo Express newspaper contained one of the first instances of the new spelling: St. Brigid’s.  The formal diocesan newspaper preferred St. Bridget’s during the early 20th century years, but in 1923, the Buffalo City Directory officially switched the spelling to St. Brigid’s.  Even during the next two decades, the name switched back and forth until around 1943 when all official documents used the St. Brigid’s spelling. 

A representative from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo claims that the name changed officially in 1920 in order to distinguish it from a different saint from Sweden: St. Bridget.   St. Brigid is the spelling more common in Ireland.  Most likely the Irish in the First Ward desired a more authentic spelling—especially during the Irish independence years around 1916-1922 when there was a movement in Ireland to return to using the Irish spellings for people and places.  If you ask First Warders who grew up in the latter part of the 20th century for the correct spelling they will invariably respond: St. Brigid’s.

While Bishop Timon spent most of his energy defending his flock from those he considered enemies of the Church, there were times when he disciplined or exhorted better behavior from his beloved constituents, the Irish.  In the 1856 election, with the Know-Nothing Party at its peak, he issued a pastoral letter urging his flock to vote and then leave the polling places immediately rather than risk any physical confrontations with the nativists.  He also urged them to refrain from intoxicating drinks and to conduct themselves like “well behaved (sic) and Christian people.”   He then added that he was not endorsing any candidates, but if the Catholic voters cast their vote for a party with anti-Catholic views—a reference to Millard Fillmore, the Know-Nothing candidate—then they would have that on their conscience.  Taken together, this was a clear command to get out and vote; don’t linger at the polling places and provoke confrontations; and refrain from being drunk at the polling places, which the Irish were sometimes known to do.  He believed that these behaviors would only encourage the Know-Nothing supporters of Millard Fillmore in propagating their stereotypes about Irish immigrants. 

Interestingly, in a letter to another ecclesiastical figure, Bishop Timon expressed more concern with the hidden anti-Catholicism in the Republican Party than the outward expression of it in Fillmore’s Know-Nothing Party.

A year later, in 1857, Timon wrote another pastoral letter urging Catholics not to engage in any activities that were a desecration of religious rites and ceremonies, especially at wakes and funerals. The penalty of excommunication was used to prevent “drunkenness, debauchery and other crimes” at funerals and wakes.   This must have been a difficult letter to write because imbibing in spirits was a long tradition at Irish wakes dating back centuries in Ireland.  Bishop Timon also realized that he needed to provide some direction to his fellow countrymen regarding alcohol abuse. 

Earlier, in 1851, Timon’s concern about alcoholism led him to invite Fr. Mathew, a charismatic abstinence preacher, to St. Patrick’s Church to administer the pledge of abstinence; over 6,000 men took the pledge.  Timon also continually urged his fellow Irish to be respectful on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, and to control their alcohol consumption, so as to not add to the nativists’ stereotypes.

Modern Buffalo historians have positive comments about Timon’s tenure as the first Bishop of Buffalo.  His advocacy for the most vulnerable Catholics, mostly Irish laborers, was indisputable.  Mark Goldman, in his book High Hopes, sums up the impact of Bishop Timon and the Church that he established:

While the Irish had been in Buffalo for over twenty years prior to the arrival of Bishop Timon in 1847, it was not until he came that the rest of the people of Buffalo became daily and seriously aware of them.  Strikes by Irish workers along the canal had been regular but easy dealt with occurrences. The Irish churches and religious societies were highly ethnocentric and invisible, and the periodic Irish newspapers had no circulation beyond the confines of the First Ward. Timon’s arrival changed all of this. Now, for the first time, Buffalo’s Irish working-class population had a brash and bold spokesman who rallied and inspired the Irish and in the process frightened the older German and WASP community. 

David Gerber, another local historian, emphasized the importance of Bishop Timon’s charitable activities, not just to the Irish, but to all Buffalonians:

Furthermore, because the American Protestant response to poverty and other local welfare needs was, besides the poorhouse, largely non-existent before 1847 and inadequate after it, Timon simultaneously, almost single-handedly, created the institutional foundations of much of local charity. 

Timon was remembered for more than his charity. A Sisters of Mercy historian claimed that those who knew the first bishop of Buffalo compared him to St. Paul; he was relentless in his travels through the cold and fatigue to preach and to administer the sacraments to his flock. 

Archbishop Hughes from New York, a contemporary of Timon, considered him to be the most humble man he ever met: “He [Timon] had no ostentation or outward ceremony but [was] always plain, simple and unassuming in his manners and habits.”  If anyone could point to a fault of Bishop Timon it would be that he wasn’t good at compromising with those whose opinion differed from his, and that he may have been too focused on his Irish flock to the detriment of the German and French Catholics. 

If it had not been for Timon’s efforts, thousands of immigrants would possibly have suffered from hunger, sickness, and homelessness.  On April 16, 1867, two days after preaching the Palm Sunday Mass in St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the indefatigable Bishop Timon passed away and finally was at rest.  There were enormous gatherings to commemorate this man in Buffalo and Rochester, and in other cities throughout Western New York.  It was estimated that close to 100,000 people in Buffalo turned up to view his body; many thousands lined the streets of downtown Buffalo, including the children from the asylums and schools that Timon built, to view his casket led by six gray horses.  Archbishop McCloskey from New York and Archbishop Kenrick from St. Louis did the eulogy at the funeral mass.  Bishop Timon was laid to rest beneath his beloved St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

Fortunately for Buffalo this tireless pastor gave every ounce of himself so that his flock might flourish spiritually and materially.  The Irish, and particularly the First Ward Irish, greatly benefited from the fact that their Bishop, a fellow Irishman, had a special place in his heart for these downtrodden people.  He used to joke to friends that even though he was born in America he was conceived in Ireland.   Other subsequent bishops would face difficult conditions and situations during their tenure.  However, no one would face more obstacles and opposition with so few resources, and still accomplish as much as Bishop Timon did. 

It can be argued that Timon, a diminutive figure who stood at just over 5 feet tall, accomplished more for the Catholic Church in Buffalo during his tenure than any subsequent ecclesiastical figure.  Along the way he planted the seeds that would uplift the Irish both economically and spiritually.  All descendants of the Ward should be thankful for his efforts.

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